One hundred fifty seven men and women graduated from the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) electrical apprenticeship program and became Journeyman Electricians. Among the graduates are 23 veterans.

Unlike many of their contemporaries graduating from colleges this year, all these graduates will immediately step into high-paying jobs in the Washington, D.C., region construction industry. One hundred forty graduated the JATC’s five-year Inside Wireman program and an additional 17 graduated from the three-year Residential Upgrade program. As Journeymen Electricians, they will earn $81,000 a year plus benefits.

The apprenticeship is a challenging program that combines classroom learning with on-the-job experience — all while being paid. Each year the JATC receives more than 3,000 applications for the program and generally accepts about 10% of them.

“Graduating the JATC apprentice program is not an easy task,” said Gregory Nicolas, valedictorian, who graduated with an average of 94.68% on his tests . “It took a lot of hard work and determination, but we made it. Thanks go to the JATC who gave us the books, the knowledge, and even paid us. It’s one of the best apprenticeship programs in the country.

The JATC is sponsored by the Electrical Alliance, a cooperative effort between the Washington, D.C. Chapter of National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 26.